Hong Kong National Party given extra week to submit arguments against unprecedented police proposal to ban it over national security concerns
Second legal team joins fight on behalf of co-founder Jason Chow, although extension is almost a month less than had been requested
Hong Kong’s Security Bureau has given a pro-independence party facing a possible ban an extra week to submit arguments against the move.
The Hong Kong National Party now has until September 11, which is almost one month earlier than the date in early October that it requested.
On Friday evening, the bureau said a legal representative for the party’s spokesman, Jason Chow Ho-fai, had written to it requesting an extension for making written representations in accordance with the Societies Ordinance, under which the police force made its unprecedented proposal.
“Having considered the matter, the secretary for security has decided to extend the period for representation,” a spokesman said. “The Hong Kong National Party may make representations to the secretary for security on or before September 11.”
The spokesman said the bureau had informed the party of the decision. The party had previously been given an extra 28 days, until September 4, to make its case to the security minister.
In mid-July, police sought to ban the party in the name of protecting national security – the strongest and most controversial effort to date by the authorities to crush an already marginalised pro-independence movement in the city.
At the time, the security minister John Lee Ka-chiu said he had given the party three weeks to argue why he should not act on the police recommendation.
Originally the party asked to extend the deadline to October 2, but the bureau only granted an extension to September 4. The party then requested another extension to October 5.
A source told the Post a second legal team had joined the fight against the ban. The second request for an extension was not made by the legal team of the party’s convenor, Andy Chan Ho-tin, but by the team of the co-founder Chow.
After the bureau and police turned down the request for surveillance records, and confirmation of no communication between the two departments, the party’s legal team has requested the bureau hand over original copies of videos and recordings used to support the ban.
Under the Societies Ordinance, it is not expressly spelt out how many days an affected group has to reply. It only states the security minister must give the group “an opportunity” to respond.
The party could still apply for a third extension, subject to the department’s approval.